Assam violence a fallout of vote bank politics - The New Indian Express

Assam violence a fallout of vote bank politics

Published: 05th August 2012 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 03rd August 2012 02:54 PM

The longer the Congress rules Assam, the greater grows the threat to India’s security and demography. Just take a look at the recent events in Kokrajhar, one of the worst districts affected by the flood of illegals. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blames the Centre for delaying the deployment of the army. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh visits the relief camps and says that the “pain and suffering the recent incidents have caused to a large number of people have saddened all of us”. He lets in the word “ethnic conflict” and says it is “unacceptable and must stop”.

Then Dr Singh talks tongue-in-cheek. “We must also address the causes of the conflict.” We thought he would go into the real causes of the conflict where the flood from Bangladesh is squeezing the local Bodos into narrower and narrower areas as the illegal immigrants  usurp their land. Instead, he qualified the issue of addressing the “causes” by adding “if the conflict has been instigated, the guilty must be punished”. So his government and the state government are not going to zero in on the “causes of the conflict”. They would treat it as a mere law and order issue.

The Prime Minister has promised Rs 300 crore to Assam for relief and rehabilitation, development schemes and housing. In fact, with houses provided to the illegals and development and rehabilitation for them along with the Bodos, the illegals would become legals. And that would encourage more illegals to come and push out the local Bodos. Does the Congress believe that its remedy would be swallowed hook and line by the country and that there would be no more clashes?

Or is it saying to the illegals, “come, my friends, in droves and if you drive away the Bodos and occupy their land, we would be sorry for the local people but would give you all houses, development and everything else”? The unstated part of this deal is that the illegals would soon get absorbed into Assam and would become vote banks for the Congress.

Thanks to an honest and straight-forward former bureaucrat and current election commissioner, H S Brahma, the nation has been reminded of the harsh truth in Assam. He wrote in the Indian Express last week: “The present ethnic clashes between the two communities can be directly attributed to the aforementioned facts of illegal migration into Assam.” He gives a graphic account of how government and common grazing lands in that part of the country have been usurped by these immigrants, thereby causing enormous economic stress to the farmers and local communities. He speaks of “systematic grabbing” of government lands and the “steady encroachment of denuded forest areas” by the illegal immigrants and non-indigenous communities” and how this is the basic cause of the clashes.

So the clashes in Assam cannot be dismissed as a local law and order problem. The question is not how much money the Centre gives to the Assam government or what the latter does in regard to rehabilitation, rebuilding the burnt houses etc. The question is what the Centre and the state together are going to do to stop the illegal immigration on the one hand and how the illegals would be identified, at least those who have come in the recent years.

The Congress may think that it has a handy vote bank in letting the illegals stay and be soon considered as Indian citizens, but that would be a dangerous play with India’s security and its true secularist polity.

The question is not confined to the Northeast. Both Bihar and West Bengal have seen the demographic damage that is being caused due to the rise in Muslim population — both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the total population of district after district.

 punjbalbir@gmail.com

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